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Costa Rica is very popular as a vacation destination but have you ever wondered what it would feel like to live a vacation every day? Can you imagine hitting the beach every morning, spending time riding the waves, kayaking or even exploring the rain forest whenever you want? Moving to Costa Rica can provide you those things as well as the knowledge that life is filled with an abundance of wonderful beautiful. Fortunately for those who want to make their visit a long-term situation, it can be relatively easy to pack up and move to this amazing country.

Choosing the Perfect Home

When choosing the perfect home, you should really enlist the help of a real estate agent that is experienced in selling overseas pieces of property.

They can recommend some of the best places for the budget you have, the amenities you may want or need and the specific area you may be interested in living. It’s also a good idea to speak to an attorney when looking for a property in Costa Rica to ensure the land or home is properly titled and that the sell will go through without any legal issues.

With beautiful homes right by the ocean, on land in the savannahs or even within the lush jungle, you can find a piece of heaven to call your home.

Whether you need a small home for one, or you are looking for a mid-level or luxury home to fit a large family, you will find many options in Costa Rica.

If you plan to stay for a portion of the year and return to the United States or another country for the rest of the year, you may want to consider checking out vacation rentals or other rentals including condos or apartments that may have year-round maintenance crews. If you purchase a property in a rural area, it will be best to hire a gardener or housekeeper who can keep watch over the property during the times you will be away.

There’s Plenty to Do in Costa Rica

People have many reasons to move to Costa Rica, and the biggest is because there are simply so many things to do and the scenery is majestic. For those who crave a little adventure, there are caves to explore, Zip-lines to zip through the jungle, waterfalls to conquer and even white water rafting. Prefer some docile activities? The beach is always open and the water always clear and blue. You can spend hours lounging in the sun while sipping a fruity beverage or take a guided tour through the rainforest.

At night, you can find plenty of space to lounge out on your own private deck and gaze at the stars while dining on great Costa Rican cuisine, or, if you prefer a little more excitement you can head out for a night on the town and dance the night away at one of the many discotheques or other hot night spots.

The Pura Vida life as the locals call it is readily available and open for you to explore. With a warm climate all year-round, a low rate of crime and a great group of locals, this country is one that a person can easily fall in love with in just a few hours.

Don’t Forget Your Paperwork

Many people arrive in Costa Rica with little more than a backpack and a dream of living a peaceful life. Others however, find a need to bring along some personal items that may include home furnishings or even a personal car. It’s easy to get around on foot or bicycle locally, but if you feel the need to have a car, be sure to consult an international auto transport company like A-1 Auto Transport Inc to ensure your car arrives safely. You will also need to have some of the following paperwork for customs:

 

• Passport

• Residence Visa

• Detailed Inventory – Serial and Model Numbers of Appliances

• Bill of Lading

• Insurance Coverage Document

• Authorization Letter

• Title and Registration Originals

• Bill of Sale Original

 

When you make a move, even a short distance move, it is best to be prepared and plan things ahead of time. Planning a move to Costa Rica can require a great deal of time as you search for the perfect home, determine what to bring and schedule the move. Once here, you will quickly find that living in this exotic country is a dream vacation come true. The best part of moving to Costa Rica is that you will be fortunate to live the dream every day.

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Playa Negra is mostly known as a sleepy little town of only a couple hundred annual residents. The population swells on a daily basis depending on the waves. Since Playa Negra is known as the best reef break in the entire country people come from all over when the wave is breaking well. On those days, the beach crowd swells as well all the way through to the sunset because of the joint spectacle that the breaking waves and the perfect sunset bring. Sometimes there can be more than 25 people there. Ok, Ok, Ok, only 25 people is paradise! Don’t worry though because if you don’t like to surf in crowds there are 20 breaks in the area. This makes Playa Negra the center of the ‘North Shore’ of Costa Rica.

 

When there are no waves, the beaches around Playa Negra are an absolute paradise. This is a place where you can still take a romantic walk with your partner and nary see another soul.

 

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There are so many food options for a simple little beach town it really doesn’t make sense. Some of the favorites include La Ventana (organic and healthy food), Villa DeeVina which is a haven for top quality wines and food (make a reservation), Cafe Playa Negra (great Peruvian food), Latinos (best typical restaurant in the area), Jalapeños (for burritos and the like), and Vida Buena for a mix of wood fired pizza and more.

 

Playa Negra is just a mile or so from the paved road to Paraiso from Santa Cruz and/or Tamarindo. Years back it was a battle to get here. However, there have been so many improvements that if you take the beach road or the paved road you really don’t need a four wheel drive car anymore no matter what time of year it is. Like Tamarindo, the Liberia airport is just over an hour away.

 

This is not only a place to take a vacation it is a place to plant roots.

 

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When you come to Costa Rica and you want to explore the local cuisine, you’ll realize that it’s much more than just ‘Rice and Beans’.
 
Since I have moved to Playa Tamarindo, Costa Rica I have tried so many local dishes. I love their food because it’s flavored with lots of herbs and lime.
 
In Tamarindo we have many people that are selling from their car and we have lots of sodas and restaurants. If you go to the local ‘fiestas’, ‘bailes’ and ‘rodeos’ you’ll find many local dishes.
 
The ‘Rice and Beans’ are called ‘Gallo Pinto’. Gallo Pinto is the typical breakfast. The rice and beans are mixed together and are served with fried or scrambled eggs, chopped beef, fried plantains and tortillas. The Costa Rican Salsa ‘Salsa Lizano” is used to pour over the Gallo Pinto. You’ll find Gallo Pinto in any restaurant or soda.  Although it is popular as breakfast, it is served all day long.
 
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The most common dish in Costa Rica is ‘Casado’. It literally means ‘married’. Casado is white rice with a side of black beans, cabbage salad, fried plantains and a choice of chicken, fish pork or grilled/sautéed steak. Some casados come with grilled onions or extra vegetables. You’ll find casado in any soda.
 
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Arroz con pollo(chicken) or arroz con camarones (shrimp) is a very popular Costa Rican dish. You’ll find it on every menu and at any celebration. They call it ‘arroz con siempre’ (rice with always). The dish is served with lettuce, tomato and lime juice salad and French fries.
 
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Chicharones are chunks of juicy fried pork. They are associated with Christmas, holidays, town fair celebrations and anytime friends gathers at bars. Look for the chicharrones sign outside of the local sodas.
 
Chifrijo is a layered dish of rice topped with black beans, chicharrones, pico de gallo (tomato salsa with onion, cilantro and lemon) served with fresh tortilla chips. You can eat chifrijo in the local sodas.
 
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Ceviche is a popular, light and refreshing boca. Fresh raw fish is marinated in lime and mixed with diced red onion, cilantro, and some red pepper. The acid in the citrus cooks the meat. It is served with soda crackers or fried plantains. The Costa Rican ceviche is made with local tilapia or corvina.  Can be found in every restaurant and soda.
 
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Patacones are crispy fried plantains. They are served as a side dish or they are eaten as a snack.
 
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The main ingredients of the unique Costa Rican cuisine are rice and beans, fresh meats and seafood. Exotic fruits are used in their snacks or refreshing drinks. Most of the ingredients are locally grown so you’ll eat fresh and healthy food.

 

 

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On your first or next Costa Rica vacation, you owe it to yourself to pay us a visit here in Tamarindo, on the Pacific Coast of the Guanacaste peninsula. Just an hour drive from the Liberia International airport, Tamarindo is a truly eclectic town, with excellent surfing, which garnered international attention with the Bruce Brown surf saga The Endless Summer 2 back in the 1990′s. Tamarindo has grown into a great place to visit and live, with over 50 restaurants, nightlife, world famous spas, plenty of shopping and places to stay for every budget ranging from luxury oceanfront resorts to quaint hostels and bed and breakfasts as well (Not to mention some the most dramatic ocean view sunsets that you will ever experience!).

 
You can spend your vacation exploring the surrounding areas for world class surfing, scuba diving, sport fishing, zip lining and ATV excursions, or just getting a relaxing beachfront massage or sipping a few cocktails sitting at any one of a multitude of bars and restaurants throughout the region.
 

There are many neighboring towns, resort areas and beautiful beaches within a 10 mile drive, such as Hacienda Pinilla, Playa Avellanas, Playa Grande, Playa Flamingo, Potrero, Playa Brasilito Playa Conchal and Playa Negra.
 
We came as a family to visit Tamarindo after many previous trips to other parts of Costa Rica. While each area has its distinct and varied natural beauty, as a family, we decided on Tamarindo, partly due to the great private school opportunities located within a 15 minute drive, including Costa Rica International Academy, a beautiful and fully US accredited school, the La Paz School, Guanacaste Waldorf School and Educarte School as well.
 
There is truly something for everybody here in the “Gold Coast of Costa Rica”.
 
Should you fall in love with Tamarindo as many of us have, and decide that you would like to purchase your own piece of paradise, you can live up a mountain with gorgeous vistas of the Pacific Ocean and neighboring estuary, live right on the beach in your own idyllic oasis purchase a small condo to also utilize as a vacation rental investment or anything in between.
 
While in Tamarindo come by and visit us at Coldwell Banker Tamarindo Realty and Blue Moon Costa Rica for assistance with all your real estate needs  including short term rentals, residential sales, tour arrangements and commercial real estate investment and development opportunities as well. We have seasoned agents ready to assist you with any of your real estate needs. We are conveniently located in the Plaza Conchal commercial center right in the center of town. Coldwell Banker currently has 11 offices in Costa Rica and we have a great network of cooperating agents in order to offer a vast array of opportunities throughout the country.
 
Thanks and Pura Vida!
 
Joseph M Boan, CCIM, CSM

Commercial/Hospitality/Development/Land

Coldwell Banker Tamarindo Costa Rica

Email: joe@cbtamarindo.com

Mob.+506-7285-6029| Office +506-2653 1919

Toll Free +1-877- 272-3747 | whatsapp +506 7285-6029

Website: Coldwellbankertamarindo.com

Member of NAR | CRGAR
 

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Living in a foreign country is a choice that we can make because our country of origin has given us this freedom of movement.
 
We are in the real estate business and are not political commentators although there seems to be no shortage of them these days so why not share a few thoughts.

 
Interesting to note that one day following the US Presidential Election our web site had more than twice as many visits as our previous one day record! Is there a message in this spike of traffic?  Probably, but the same event would probably have occurred regardless of who was elected!
 
Before the US election a client expressed that it didn’t matter who was elected, the other half was going to leave!  I certainly hope not, we want to attract buyers from all over the world who value what this country offers and value their human rights to make this choice as so many have.

 
One can only hope that the transfer of power goes smoothly and that the US comes together and we become one people again. Are we wise enough to learn and grow and respect our differences? Our future depends on it!

 
Costa Rica has a very large and diverse foreign community.  We moved here from California over 15 years ago and now have friends from many countries and backgrounds.  I never realized how sheltered we were until we had this experience which we value greatly.

 
Color, race, religion, beliefs, bring it on, we all seem to coexist in this beautiful country without problems because we all have so much in common as expatriates.
 

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We know Tamarindo is known for its beach and surfing, but the art world is becoming more and more present within the community as well. You do not have to walk very far down the main road to see the work of local artisans and painters.

But even beyond the local artisans who sell their great work throughout the streets of city, those visiting and living in Tamarindo have a few great resources to appreciate and learn about art.

La Galería: Centro de Arte

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Tamarindo is home to a lovely and large gallery that displays fine art from artists around the country.  With 400 square meters of space, both locals and tourists can enjoy quality art without leaving this beach town.  La Galería is also offering lectures and classes for both adults and children to encourage the arts within the community.

Art Retreat Tamarindo

Art Retreat Tamarindo offers art classes, workshops, and open studio times for tourists and locals.  Headed up by Hollie Heller, a mixed media artist, the Art Retreat Tamarindo studio has a lovely view of the beach, a great place for all artistic inspiration.

Yerba Buena

Local artist Maria Soledad opens up her studio space in Langosta called Yerba Buena for locals and tourists to enjoy and purchase her work.  The artwork ranges from oil on canvas to art on surfboards, a perfect creative combination of artistry and the joy of the Costa Rican beach town.

 

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Whether you are vacationing or moving to Costa Rica, you are going to be spending much time with the locals. It is important to understand their culture not only to fit in, but to also respect their traditions and way of life. Consider this your “Tico Culture 101.”

Who Are The Ticos?

The term “ticos” is the collective name Costa Ricans gave themselves. “Tico” is used for men, and “tica” for women. The phrase came from the common habit of Costa Ricans adding “tico” to the end of words. It’s a phrase of affection.

Ticos are extremely friendly people with rich history and custom. Here is an overview of some of the special ways Costa Rican locals are set apart.

Pura Vida

Pura Vida is the phrase of the Costa Ricans and also their way of life. “Pure life” embodies the idea of enjoying life instead of rushing through it. Pura Vida is often used as a greeting or farewell. You can even use it to express how you are doing when asked.

Futbol/Soccer

Soccer (futbol in Spanish) is absolutely everything to Ticos. If a game is on, the locals are watching. You see soccer fields everywhere throughout the country, and you may be surprised how often you see either a pick-up game or an organized local team practicing in these fields. The Costa Rica national football is dearly beloved by the people.

Tico Time

When you first get to Costa Rica, you may hear somebody joke about Ticos running on “Tico time.” Though it is definitely an affectionate term, the truth is it’s not really a joke. Ticos are known for their laid-back lifestyles and this translates into their arrival times. It is common to expect locals to be anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour late for any appointment you have made.

Sodas and Typical Food

Local cuisine can be found at one of the many wonderful little restaurants off the side of the roads called sodas. These sodas serve typical Costa Rican food like Gallo Pinto (rice and beans for breakfast) or Casados (a lunch or dinner of rice, beans, salad, grilled meat, veggies, and plantains.) You will find locals in sodas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Religion

Just over 70% of Ticos identify themselves as Catholic. This religious majority undoubtedly has an effect on the culture and way of life. This includes the a focus on the family, the presence of many churches, and more traditional gender roles (though the younger generations are gravitating away from strict gender roles.)

Semana Santa

Due to that high population of Catholic locals, Semana Santa (AKA Holy Week), is revered throughout the country. During this week before Easter, Ticos often are off from work and travel with their families to vacation spots like Tamarindo Beach.

Unique Phrases

Outside of the phrase “Pura Vida,” Costa Ricans have many unique variations on the Spanish language. For example, nobody really says the common “de nada” for “you’re welcome.” Instead, they use “con mucho gusto” or “con gusto.” Another unique phrase is “mae” used similarly to “dude” when talking to a friend. For a more complete list on local phrases, read “How To Talk Like a Tico.”

Usted

This is for all you Spanish speakers out there. While many Latin American countries use the “tu” form of “you” when conversing informally, Costa Ricans use the “usted” form. This means you will be asking “¿como esta?” instead of “¿como estas?” The “tu” structure is so uncommon; it’s considered a tad impolite. Though the friendly Ticos extend grace to clueless foreigners.

Kiss On The Cheek

Costa Ricans often greet with an air kiss on one cheek. This is especially common for a man and a woman – whether they are family members, good friends, or new acquaintances.

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Illustration: By Eric T Gunther – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
 

Hands down, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Costa Rica is Manuel Antonio National Park. Home to rainforests, countless species of wildlife, and gorgeous beaches, Manuel Antonio is a must-see spot in this Central American country. Here are 7 interesting facts about Manuel Antonio. Add it to your Costa Rica bucket list, or gain more information to prepare for your upcoming stay.

1. Smallest In Size; Biggest In Heart

Manuel Antonio National Park is the smallest national park in Costa Rica, yet it happens to be the most dearly loved among tourists and locals alike. It is approximated that around 150,000 people visit Manuel Antonio each year.

2. Beauty Everywhere

A few years ago, Forbes magazine named Manuel Antonio one of the world’s most beautiful national parks. They recognize “its dazzling variety of sights: tropical rainforest, beaches, and rocky headlands” as the source of its unique and varied beauty.

3. Biodiversity

Manuel Antonio is not only one of the most diverse spots in Costa Rica, but also in the world. Nearly 200 species of birds and over 100 species of animals reside in the park, including the endangered squirrel monkey. This biodiversity makes Manuel Antonio a huge draw for eco-tourists, birders, and more.

4. Lovely Beaches

Manuel Antonio is home to quite a few distinct and lovely beaches if you are looking for

surf, sand, and water. Check out:

  • Espadilla Sur
  • Manuel Antonio
  • Escondito
  • Playita

5. Rainforests

If you are hoping to explore that quintessential Central American rainforest experience, look no further than Manuel Antonio National Park. You will quickly learn that the diversity in animal life is only matched by the wild and vibrant diversity of plant life, flowers, and trees.

6. Protected Land

All of this incredible beauty is under protection by the Costa Rican government. In 1972, the country recognized such diversity and natural beauty must be under close watch and care. From the hiking trails to the animals, each aspect is carefully under preservation regulations.

7. No Mondays

The most important thing to keep in mind is that Manuel Antonio is closed on Mondays. For the rest of the days, you can get to the park as early as 7am to begin your adventures for the day.

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Illustration: Public domain via Wikimedia Commons
 
One of the most treasured tourist destinations in Costa Rica is Coco. Plays del Coco, the beach community, offers rest and relaxation, as well as nighttime fun to the hoards of tourists who stop on buy for a week or two. Here are 7 interesting facts about Coco. Add it to your Costa Rica bucket list, or gain more information to prepare for your upcoming stay.

Largest Papagayo Village

Coco is the largest village on the Gulf of Papagayo in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica. The gulf is found at the very northwest of the country. Other areas near the gulf include Santa Rosa National Park, Culebra, and Playa Hermosa.

Grey Waters

One of the most distinctive features of Playas del Coco is the water. Throughout most of Costa Rica, the vibrant blue water has an equally vibrant green tint, creating that quintessential tropical water look. In Coco, however, the water is a blue-grey color.

Active Entertainment

As one of the more popular spots in the country, Coco delivers in the nightlife department. You may not have the wide array of restaurants with international cuisine or luxury resorts, but the party is alive and well in Coco. Expect music, dancing, and beer drinking all nights of the week, especially during dry season (November – March).

A Swimmer’s Beach

Whereas many beaches on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica are surfers’ havens – like Tamarindo or Playa Negra – Coco is not the place to catch waves. Instead, it is a marvelous place to swim. The waves are usually gentle, making it a great spot for family swimming/wading.

Water Activities

Other than swimming, Coco offers many water activities despite being a non-surfing town. Scuba diving, snorkeling, and kayaking are popular, as well as fishing. You can rent charter boats to take you out to fish too. It is also common to see boat tours out in the water for the tourists.

Coqueños

The locals of Coco call themselves the “Coqueños” (meaning “from Coco” in English). Like many other Costa Rica locals, the coqueños value family togetherness, a laidback lifestyle, and fun in the sun. Coco is a small fishing village, so you can find many locals catching fish.

International Airport Proximity

Since there are only two international airports in the country, you will often find yourself on long shuttle bus rides to your stop. Coco, however, happens to only be a quick 30 minutes away from the Liberia airport. This is one of the reasons Coco is so beloved by expats – quick access back to their home country.

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Dominical

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Dominical may not the most talked about vacation destination or expat landing in Costa Rica, but it is certainly deserving of some attention. Here are 9 interesting facts about Dominical. Add it to your Costa Rica bucket list, or gain more information to prepare for your upcoming stay.

1. Intense surfing

Like many of the other beach towns along Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, Dominical is home to wonderful surfing waves. Be fully warned, however, that Dominical is not known for surfing conditions suited for the faint of heart or the inexperienced. The waters in the area are rougher, making for challenging waves loved by surfing pros.

2. Careful swimming

The same waves that make for challenging surfing require careful swimming. There are riptides that can pull you in if you are not cautious. The water does not have to be avoided entirely; in fact, there is snorkeling in the area. Simply proceed with awareness… and possibly an experienced guide.

3. Province of Puntarenas

Many popular Costa Rican beach towns on the Pacific coast are located in northern Guanacaste. Dominical, however, is located in the province of Puntarenas. Puntarenas Province happens to be the largest province in Costa Rica. Popular Manuel Antonio National Park is in Puntarenas as well.

4. Secluded Experience

Dominical is sparsely populated. You will not find throngs of crowds when you visit. It is the perfect location for a quiet getaway. As you would imagine, there are many signs of a much smaller, laid-back community – like unpaved roads. This is all part of Dominical’s unique charm.

5. Whale watching

A popular activity outside of Domincal’s surfing is whale watching (sometimes dolphins can be spotted as well). Known for some of the best whale watching in the country, Dominical allows you to see humpbacks and much more. Sightings are possible throughout the year.

6. Great Nearby Spots

The location of Dominical lends to many wonderful day-trips and nearby excursions. Some of the best spots to check out nearby are Marino Ballena, Corcovado National Park, and the Hacienda Baru Wildlife Refuge. Playa Hermosa is nearby too.

7. Cliffs

Surrounding the area Dominical, you will see many gorgeous cliff-like hills. This is where you will typically find some of the locals and the expats. The views from these areas can be spectacular.

8. Estuaries and Mangroves

Dominical is home to estuaries and mangroves. In fact kayaking through the mangroves is one of the most popular activities for tourists. But these are not the only gorgeous sites to see. You can find plantations, marshes, and coves all around the area.

9. Budget OR Luxury

One of the best things about traveling Dominical is its wide variety of options. Known for its challenging surfing, the area has made affordable hostile-style accommodations readily available, especially near the beach. But head on up to the cliffs or other more tropical spots, and you can rent luxury vacation homes for your stay.

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